Back only 100 years ago only 20% of the world’s population lived in a city or urbanised area, this means that only 330 million people lived in a city. Today 50% or 3.5 billion people live in an urban area, this is one 1000% more than in 1900. And by 2050 the number of people living in a city will double.
Sustainable Building Design (above)
History of Cities
In early human history, humans were hunters and gatherers. Tribes would be in constant movement searching for food and water. 10,000 years ago humans started to use methods of selective breeding and early agricultural techniques. This new technological advancement created the first semi-permanent villages that were able to grow themselves with a sustainable food source. 5,000 years ago, irrigation and soil tilling techniques helped to replenish the soil with nutrients. This created permanent villages as the villagers could now rely on a single area of land for crops. These technologies created a food surplus meaning that not every human being had to farm, search or hunt for food. From this new jobs were created, jobs like builders, teachers, miners and blacksmiths. Cities were now producing tools, foods and other goods that could be traded between other cities. Commerce and interactions between cities was now taking place on larger scales. As trade began to flourish and it new technology grew with it. Carts, ships, roads and ports were invented to aid the trade between the cities. With these new technologies, new jobs were created and more people come from the country side to the city. This created a snow ball effect, more goods meant more trade, more trade meant both more money and bigger infrastructure, more money allowed people to hire others to work making goods and building bigger infrastructure for the city. At this time, around 4000 years ago, cities populations grew and quickly became densely populated as everything had to be within walking distance. The Roman Empire was the first to developed infrastructure to overcome some of these problems. However, modern cities as we know them didn’t start to appear until the industrial revolution in the United Kingdom. Again as new technology thrived cities became much more complex establishing law enforcement departments, road and rail networks water and waste systems and later electricity distribution.
Photo of Wall Street, New York 1900’s (above)
Through the growing demand for electricity cities used coal and oil to supply themselves with power. Thus beginning the era of pollution and resource depletion, leading to many of modern cities sustainability issues. To address these problems a new sustainable, ecological city will be created in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney NSW, Australia.
As the crow flies the Shire is 21km south from Sydney’s CBD and 15km south from the international airport. Neighbouring areas include Kogarah and Bankstown to the north, Campbelltown to the west and Wollongong to the south. Population growth in the Sutherland local government area is significantly lower than the national average and has been over the past 15 years, as much as a 5.5% difference. This is prominently because of limited residential development approval in the area. This Shire has a lot of potential to grow in both sustainability and development. The Sutherland shire will become a modern futuristic city and Australia’s leader in innovation and sustainability.
Sustainable Building Design (above)
As the Sutherland shire is already a developed the city already has access to water, waist and energy resources. Therefore the some costs needed to create a new sustainable city can be used in other areas like a new subway system and redevelopment of public spaces. The location also allows the city to take advantage of and work within the natural beauty of the local beaches and bushland.
The first and most important aspect for the new city is to be a vibrant community that is still connected to the surrounding beaches, bays and of course the national park. All the new features and developments will be used to connect people and enhance the sense of community while also reducing the impact of the city on the natural environment. For example in place of the Woolooware and Cronulla golf courses, a new pubic park will be developed with a costal esplanade, seating areas, lots and lots of vegetation and play areas for children.
- Blue – Subway system
- Red – Maglev line
- Pink – CBD’s
- Purple – Public Parks
- Black – Esplanade’s
With the creation of a new subway system this will make cars redundant and traveling around the city quicker easier, without the worry of traffic. This system will connect all reaches of the Shire and will transform Miranda into the cities centre. Miranda will become the cultural hub of the new city with long strips of shop, cafes and restaurants. The streets will have super wide pedestrian path ways with little to no cars flowing through. Because of the decrease in traffic the streets won’t need to be wider than one lane each way creating room for safe cycle lane separate from the cars.
Design for shops along The Kingsway, Miranda (above)
The plan for the new city is to have a quick, easy and modern subway system connecting all the surrounding suburbs and a high speed rail way from Miranda to the International Airport and Sydney’s CBD. The roads will also be re-designed so that cyclist have their own lane/s separated from the road.
The subway system will have 20 stops. The main stops will be at Miranda, Caringbah, Cronulla, Sutherland, Como, Menai, and Taren Point. All the stops are designed to make it easy for the public to get around the Shire quickly without needing to use their cars. The subway stops are also close to the existing Sydney Trains network also making traveling in and out of the Shire easy. The subway system will be a lot like other subway systems around the world. The car that will be adopted for the shire’s subway will be very similar to those on the Metro System in Barcelona. The system in Barcelona has subway cars will large doors, the interior space is optimised with more standing area and seats along the side of the car. A public subway system has many benefits. Not only is it cheap to run, but it is also cheaper than other forms of transport and more convenient. Another benefit is the positioning on the stops. Because the platforms are underground they don’t take up the same land space as a normal train platform does.
At Miranda on the corner of the Kingsway and Sylvania Rd will be the station for the Maglev train line to the international airport and central station. This will get people to Sydney airport in 4minutes and central station in 7 minutes. This new train line can be the push start for a new way of connecting Australia’s cities.
Another part of reducing the need for cars in the Sutherland Shire, purpose built cycling lanes will be incorporated into the streets. The design will remove the cycling lane from the road so that bikes have their own place on the road and no longer have to share the shoulder. In the place of a 2 lane (each way) highway the new road will have:
- One lane each way for vehicles,
- Two 2 metre wide cycle lanes on each side of the road and
- A 3-4 metre wide pedestrian pathway on each side.
In place of a residential street:
- One 2 metre cycling lane for each direction shall be reserved for cyclists.
Cycle lane design in London (above)
These designs will work on any street in the Sutherland shire and can open up new possibilities for commuting on a bicycle. For example the lanes will allow the opportunity for e-bikes to be ridden safely allowing people to ride around the shire without getting sweaty. An e-bike is bicycle with an electrical motor attached to it. With the combination of the subway, Maglev train rail and cycle ways the need for cars in the Sutherland shire will dramatically drop, lowering pollution, reliance on fossil fuel transport and traffic congestion problems within the entire city.
Infrastructure and sustainability technologies.
All the new buildings that are built in the Sutherland Shire are to be built with green and passive building techniques and energy efficient landscaping. The buildings designed for the new city will be multi-story dwellings, to fit more people in the area, to share and utilise resources and facilitate community interactions. The architects will focusing on top-down approaches to their designs and plans to enable a closed loop relationships between cites and their surrounding environment. Also residents will be required to have a certain amount of vegetation per person under the Vegetation Law. This could be incorporated into the design of the apartment or as an external feature, like a vertical garden.
The aim for the Vegetation Law is to have majority of vegetables that people in the city eat are grown in the building. This will save money, fuel and pollution from the reduced need for food to be imported. Many new technologies are available that make growing food in skyscrapers possible, for example, vertical gardens and rooftop gardens. Vertical gardens are great space savers, allowing people to grow food on a wall inside their own houses and apartments. These gardens can also be used as design features. Rooftop gardens are self-explanatory, they make use of the space on top of the building for vegetation.
Green building is a new concept that refers both to a sustainable structure that is built using techniques that are environmentally sustainable and is resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle. This includes the design process, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. Green building is all about finding the balance between building and the environment. Even if a building is complete with the latest in sustainable technologies, if the materials and construction techniques used heavily pollute and damage the surrounding environment the sustainable technologies are waisted.
Building uses natural sunlight and wind patterns for heating and cooling (above)
Sustainable residential home design (above)
Building using passive building techniques results in a building that is ultra-energy efficient and require little electricity for heating or cooling. The standard is not confined to residential properties it has previously been used in several office buildings, schools and a supermarket have also been constructed to the standard. Passive design is not an attachment or supplement to architectural design, but a design process that is integrated with architectural design.
Sustainable Building Design (above)
Energy efficient landscaping’s purpose is to maximise buildings energy efficiency through design. Design techniques include:
- Planting trees for the purpose of providing shade, which reduces cooling costs.
- Planting or building windbreaks to slow winds near buildings, which reduces heat loss in the winter but also maximises wind for cooling in the summer.
- Wall sheltering, where shrubbery or vines are used to create a barrier directly against a wall to shied from sunlight in the summer and wind in winter.
- Green roofs that cool buildings with extra thermal mass and evapotranspiration and double as an outdoor area for residents.
- Reducing the heat island effect with pervious paving, high albedo paving, shade, and minimising paved areas within the city.
- Site lighting with full cut off fixtures, light level sensors, and high efficiency fixtures.
A perfect example of a fully sustainable building/business is a restaurant inside a green house. The restaurant has an anaerobic-digester, this digester takes biodegradable materials from the restaurant and green house and is make heat and electricity from the waist. The green house has a waste water treatment system that take the waist water from the restaurant and uses it to water the plants and also creates energy from the solids in the waist water. Also with in the green house, a fish farm fed with kitchen waist from the restaurant and worms from the compost, this fish farm provides fish for the restaurant. And finally the waist coffee grains can be mixed into the compost to add extra nutrients back into the soil in the green house. This restaurant is completely self sustainable and does not need the delivery of food or to be connected to the grid. At Kurnell, with the oil refinery closing there is opportunity to stamp a foothold of sustainability in the Sutherland shire. The area is already an industrial zone, therefor no land clearing will be needed to make room. In place of the oil refinery there will be a Concentrated Solar Power plant and a state of the art MBA Polymers recycling plant recycling both metals and plastics to be resold back into industries.
MBA Polymer recycling plants
The Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant works through the use mirrors to concentrate the sun’s light energy which amplifies its energy. The plant converts this energy into heat to create steam to drive a turbine that generates electrical power. At Kurnell a trough system will be used. This system reflects the suns energy onto a water pipe. The water in this pipe heats up and turns into stem running through a turbine creating electricity. The water will be sourced from the ocean which is why Kurnell is the best place for this project.
MBA Polymers recycling technology is ground breaking. They have been able to find a way to sort plastics into types and so that they can now recycle them. The reason why recycling plastics has been so difficult to recycle plastics in the past is because it is extremely hard to sort them. Plastics can be any colour and have over lapping densities. However, MBA Polymers is the first company to be able to do this automatically in a sustainable mater. Click here to find out more.
How will the city be sustainable?
Sustainable shopping centre design (above)
The Sutherland shire has a great culture and sense of community to it. We look to enhance this in every area of development. From long open costal walks, to strips of shops, cafes and restaurants the shire will be full of life and culture. Education and health centres in the Shire will be modern and state-of-the-art.
Esplanade design along the Georges River.
Instead of people getting frustrated in traffic, they can enjoy the ease of relaxing in a subway car getting home in half the current time. The air in the city will be clear and fresh from the vegetation in the city. The Sutherland shire won’t be like a normal city, with the stench of pollution in the air and concrete making up 99.9% of the city. The shire will have large open, natural reserves. The vegetation will also help regulate the cities temperature. The difference in temperature from the shire and neighbouring Sydney can reach up to 5 degrees Celsius.
The Sutherland leisure centre will be transformed into a centre of fitness and leisure for the city. with multiple swimming pools both indoor and outdoor, large rooms filled with equipment to work every muscle in the body until it is numb, access to physiotherapy and massage parlours and healthy restaurants and cafe’s all in the same complex.
Education will be a top priority in the Sutherland Shire. Hazlehurst will be transformed into the shire’s centre of sustainability, art and culture. The Shires schools will be among the nations finest and will have a big focus on sustainability, learning and planning for the future. The facilities with in the schools will be modern innovative and state-of-the-art. This will teach generations to come the importance of sustainability and ensue sustainable living is continued.
The buildings built in the Sutherland shire will not only be sustainable for the environment the buildings will also be sustainable to the economy. As the buildings are so energy efficient, energy bills won’t hit the roof. The community design of the shops, cafes, and parklands will draw people into the city making it a vibrant, sustainable economic hub. This will create jobs and attract more people to live, work and spend in the area. Being an innovative world leading facilities, both the Centre of Sustainability, Art & Culture and MBA Polymers Recycling will extend the economic sustainability. Both will sell education services and thought leading innovative products. They will also create unique tourist centres to draw international visitors an increasing the number of service jobs in the area.
For every person living in the Sutherland shire they will have to have a certain amount of vegetation. Having vegetation in urban areas is proven to lower eye irritation cases by over 50%, lower respiratory system problems by over 30%, lower cases of headaches by more than 20%, human productivity boosted by over 20% and energy consumption is lowered by 15%. All these statistics are because the plants in the buildings provide fresh air instead to air conditioners and the buildings stay at more of a regulated temperature. Specific plants even remove harsh chemicals from the air. The Sutherland shire will be a city that operates alongside nature instead of clearing nature altogether from the area.
Sustainable Building Design (above)
Likely efficiency of the new Shire
On the ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index there are only 2 Australian cities listed in the top 50. The ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index ranks cities biased on their sustainability over three areas, people, planet and profit. Over all Sydney is ranked 11th, Melbourne is ranked 17th. For people Sydney is ranked 4th and Melbourne 8th, for planet Sydney is ranked 18th and Melbourne is ranked 23rd and for profit Sydney is ranked 16th and Melbourne is ranked 5th. Sydney ranks very highly in the people category beating many of the world’s leading cities, however it falls back in the planet and profit but is always in the top 20. Melbourne bets Sydney in the profit category and is close behind Sydney however falls below 20 in the planet category. Using our plans we think the Sutherland shire will be in the top ten cities over all of the ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index. For the separate categories the shire will fit into the top five for people, top ten for earth and for profit top 15. The Sutherland shire will be Australia’s leading city in sustainability and innovation.
Sustainable Building Design (above)
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